project wedding cake: mango curd

[Previous Project Wedding Cake episodes: An Introduction]

So [wipes hands on the filthiest apron you have ever seen] where did we leave off? Oh right! You see, I am making a wedding cake. And despite the fact that I have made more birthday and celebration cakes in the last two years that I can count on all of my fingers and most of my toes, wedding cakes are a whole ‘nother scene. I thought “I’ll just bake three cakes and snap ’em all together.” Hoo-hoo-hee-hee, how much I have learned!

battered mangoes and lime

Since we last spoke, we’ve made a lot of progress. I have baked 6″-square samples of both the vanilla and chocolate cakes we will be using with their requisite fillings, the bride came and tasted (also Joc, when I begged her to remove the thigh-offending goods from our fridge!), brought home samples and everyone involve declared them a raging success. How wonderful, right?

the lime was juiceless

I have also read all 240-and-counting of your comments and Internet, I am just filled with glee that you all came out to help this project along. I’d bake you all a cake, but I think we’ve already seen what kind of trouble that gets me into. Instead, I have made several adjustments based on your advice: the largest cake layer is now chocolate (in an effort to balance the number of white and chocolate cake slices) and I know with absolute certainty that I will be assembling the cake on site (I mean, phew, I was hoping you’d suggest that anyway).

mango, ready for the chopper

I have decided to stick with the cake sizes I outlined (12, 10 and 8-inch square) for a few reasons, the first being that it was way more cake than we needed to begin with for 55 people, even if the Wilton cake-cutting diagrams are skimpy, as many of you have said. However, after baking a sample cake, I am not sure I wholly agree. That cake was FIVE INCHES tall. A 2-inch by 1-inch by 5-inch slice was tremendous; two were absurd–I couldn’t eat dinner afterward. Most birthday and other cakes are much shorter, so I can see why that would be a pittance of a piece, but not these recipes I am using. Nevertheless, the third and finally reason I’m no longer fretting the cake slice size is that I’ve been informed that there will be both ice cream and cookies with the dessert course (and if I told you who was baking them, you’d understand why I don’t even think people will notice the cake), i.e. so much food nobody will even want a hearty slice. No matter how awesome it is.

But, as should be expected, I am still fretting over a few details and hope you can help me answer these remaining questions:

  1. I copped out–for the tasting at least–and made the classic, shiny Seven-Minute (i.e. Meringue) Frosting I am comfortable with, rather than working out my issues with Swiss Buttercream a week before the event. But I’m still not totally sold on using it, or won’t be until I get some answers to this question: Which frosting is more heat safe, if there is god-forbid a heat wave or the place’s a/c stops working? No, I don’t think that a this restaurant will have an a/c failure in July, but we must all be like boy scouts: prepared for everything!
  2. Does hell freeze over if you don’t strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve? Be honest. Lay it on me. I’m ready for it. It’s just that I made two cups of it on Wednesday night and it’s very delicious but it might have taken 30 minutes just to strain it and press it through. Imagine how long it will take for 10 cups! I will have to quit my day job. Oh wait.
  3. Any thoughts on how much curd is required to fill a 3-layer (so two layers of filling per cake) 10-inch square and 8-inch square? [I used half of the recipe below to cover two filling layers of a 6-inch square cake, i.e. 72 square inches so my rough guesstimate would be that I should make three times this to fill final cake with mango to spare, i.e. 328 square inches.]
  4. Can anyone explain to me how the frosting does not get messed up on the top of a cake, once it has another tier stacked on top of it? I know that you cut the dowels to the height of the frosted cake, but should you leave them sticking up an extra millimeter or two? I’m terrified of having unusable slices once the cake is unstacked. I’m also scared of revolving doors, but uh, I suppose that is unrelated.

mango pureemango to strainmaking mango curdmango on practice cake

Next up, we’ll have some cake recipes I think would be a welcome addition to any repertoire. And below is the core recipe I used for the mango curd, and it was wonderful. The original recipe had called for lemon juice, I felt lime was a much better contrast. It was truly delicious, equally good on yogurt or slicked between yellow cake layers.

Mango Curd
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 1998

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

1 15-ounce ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar (might reduce this to 1/3 cup next time, to keep the curd more tart)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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193 comments on project wedding cake: mango curd

  1. Wow! I wish I could help you with your questions, but I’m only qualified to sample the final product and pronounce it delicious. Everything before that is a mystery to me.

    If your photos are any indication, I suspect it will pass inspection, no matter what you do.

  2. Stella

    I don’t know whether you have to strain the mango curd, but if you want a faster way to do it, you could put the curd in a layer or 2 of cheesecloth, fold up all the corners and twist them together so the curd can’t get out, and squeeze. I find this works much faster than trying to pass liquid through a fine sieve. You just have to be careful not to fill up the cloth too much so the curd doesn’t overflow out of the top.

    Good luck with everything! You’re doing great!

  3. Sophia

    Don’t have anything particularly useful to add, but I’ll be cheering from the sidelines – this is really fascinating to read! Good luck!

  4. The seven minute frosting is definitely more heat-stable – since there is no butter to be melting in the heat.

    And, hell will not freeze over if you don’t strain the curd. The point is to get out any little lumps, but if you are a zealous whisker you should be fine.

    Questions 3 & 4 I don’t have answers to. : )

    Good luck – looks delish!

  5. Janine

    I know this is probably a silly thing to say but you are going to have all layers on cake circles right? I just know some people who didn’t and then the whole dowel thing becomes irrelevant as the dowels have nothing to support. Not mentioning any names…no sirree. ;o)

    The seven minute frosting is definately going to be more stable. Heat and buttercream of any kind is a disaster waiting to happen IMO.

    As to the straining. If you have no lumps in your curd go ahead and skip that step. It does make a slight difference but not one that most people would notice.

    You might get some damage to the top layers of icing when you assemble that’s why most cakes have a piped border on the bottoms of the layers to hide those. If you don’t want to do that a skim of icing on the top layers after assembly usually sorts everything out. You do want the dowels to peep slightly above the top of the icing though. Just a wee bit. After re-reading I don’t think that was your question but I’ll leave the above stand anyway. (sheepish)

    Hope your still having fun with this. I’m having a ton of fun just reading about it and living vicariously through you. However I will say that I am glad my wedding cake baking days are over. :oD

  6. I am not a super star chef, but I don’t strain my lemon curd. It doesn’t usually have lumps so I never really saw any need. Good Luck! I can’t wait to try the mango curd!

  7. Ah, you’re using Tommy Atkins mangoes. Those types are quite stringy to begin with. Haitian mangoes (they are yellow and teardrop shaped) are less stringy, and that might solve your straining problem. Ditto for Indian mangoes — the consistency is actually quite silky and smooth.

    You can easily get Ataulfo mangoes at grocery stores (and street vendors) in NYC. The ones I’ve seen this season usually from Haiti. Actually, I might do a street vendor first since their stuff is bound to be more ripe, so you can whip up some test curd with an Ataulfo mango quickly.

    Oh, and I found very ripe Indian mangoes at Food Emporium on 14th Street and 4th Avenue, Union Square, yesterday. All very ripe, some were banged up a bit, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re making curd.

    Good luck!

  8. Susan

    I’d strain it unless you are positive that none of the eggs curdled. That’s the usual reason for straining “curd”. Mango’s can also be stringy. Check the blade of your processor when you do the puree thing..if you see any bits of strings, then strain your puree. The cheese cloth idea sounds smart.

  9. I altered that Mango Curd recipe to make a Cantaloupe Curd for cupcakes. I do alsways strain curd because I am not completely confident in my ability to cook curd without scrambling a few eggs. Scrambled egg filling probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but you’re also probably way better at it than me.

    Also, from my hours of watching Ace of Cakes, I think the dowels are cut to be completely even with the cake and then a piece of parchment paper is laid down between the two cake layers. This is mere conjecture though and I’d try it on some kind of practice cake first.

    Good Luck!

  10. deb

    Thanks everyone!

    My question about damaging the cake tops was indeed about what happens when you put the cake board flush with an iced layer below. It sounds like lining the underside of the cake board with parchment paper and giving the dowels a couple barely-noticeable extra millimeters (covered with piped icing, so nobody will see anyway) is the way to go?

    One of my issues with the Seven-Minute Frosting is that it crusts a little. As I will be bringing the cake to the wedding reception location at 8 in the morning, the frosting will be done the day before and I don’t want a meringue-like shell on it. I am going to test a tiny batch of Swiss Buttercream this week and see if it is crust-free and heat-safe (I’ll leave it out with the a/c off.)

  11. Hello Deb. I don’t have time to read all your comments but I have these two tips:

    Buy The Cake Bible. The first time I had to make a wedding cake with no planning it saved my life. She has all the ratios and hints for using large pans and increasing recipes.

    Set all curds, mousses and whipped creams with gelatin. This way they can hold the weight off all that cake sitting on top of them.

    1/2 tip: make the freezer your BFF.

    So glad you’re documenting this! Exciting for us too!

  12. Dancer who eats

    You are such an inspiration. I have weird recipes that I am afraid of cooking. You attempting this makes me ashamed and guilty in the best way possible. Thanks!

  13. anne

    hello , my name is Anne , I am french from Paris , and I’ll try to say with the right terms how I found you’re cuisine. I thought that France was the best country with all the greatest chefs but I must say that you’re an amazing one , believe it I know what it is! Everything you’re preparing is FANTASTIC! You’re WOOWW incredible , I’ve never seen it here!!!
    Could you tell me your secret? because there is a secret , this is not possible to cook that well without one! :)
    Could you please send me some of your recipes of cupcakes, just one or two? Because in France we have not the chance to know cupcakes! I’ll be flattered to cook something from a great american chef like you.

    Sorry for my english , all the best !
    And thank you for your fabulous photos , I told all my friends to go to your page , we’re all bluffed!!
    Bye, hope to receive cupcake recipes , see you !

  14. Becky

    Rose Levy Beranbaum in her cake bible suggests using drinking straws instead of dowels. Apparently, they are easier to deal with (cut to desired height). Good luck!

  15. betsy

    I’ve been to a/c-less weddings in July in Detroit, so I wouldn’t rule it out. I’d definitely agree with planning for a heat-stable cake. Even with a/c, some venues get very hot and very humid when people pack the place. A shell on the meringue seems like a very small price to pay for a more heat-stable cake. You could call and ask the caterers/venue host what their situation is. Some older venues can never stay cool when it gets beyond 85 or 90 degrees. The caterers should be aware of this.

    Also, make sure you have a cake table that won’t be in sunlight from a window. And you could check that they’re providing linens for the cake table. If you’re using flowers, I’d check with the florist about arrival times and who’s putting them on the cake (and make sure the stamens from the flowers are removed!).

    Good luck!

  16. Good luck! I’m sure you won’t need it though and everything will go fine. I’m making my Cousins wedding cake in October but having to transport it nearly 400 miles across land and sea so I’m dreading that journey ;-)

  17. Mango curd, what a wonderful choice…can’t wait to see it all assembled. I do like the fact you used lime instead of lemon. This is like a TV show, just waiting for the next eppisode to show what will be next! I think I need to pull out the orange pound cake I made in the freezer with some icecream for tonight, I am craving wedding cake but this will do.

  18. Deb:

    You’ve quickly passed my cake skill set. I stack layers and not cakes. Actually I’ve switched my focus to cupcakes, but this isn’t about me. The one and only time I made mango curd, I had to strain it. I didn’t use fine mesh and I found it grainy, but I’m not above admitting severe consumer error (or a bad recipe). Did you taste it before you strained it? Was the texture greatly improved after straining?

    I hope these articles help with Q4:

    Again, Beranbaum’s Cake Bible seems to be the most comprehensive source. You can also post questions on her blog and she will respond:

    Good luck and thanks for keeping us inspired.

  19. deb

    Thanks for all the drinking straw suggestions, btw, but I don’t have the guts to use something that doesn’t seem intended to carry such weight, even if they’ve worked for others. I’ve bought Wilton 3/4-inch hollow plastic dowels, which were suggested in a book I am using. They’re really strong, plus, when cut level will be super-sturdy.

  20. Martha Ann

    You are fattening me up for the kill with your blog – I love it! Potato Pizza tonight even though I just spent 26 hours getting back to NC from Spain. A walk through the market in Morocco made me sick as a dog but all I wanted to do was come home and cook after seeing such beautiful vegetables – perfect potatoes – almost no eyes, goreous tomatoes, peppers, figs, pears but the beauty came with lots of dusty, dirty, smelly dark alleys that sent my allergies into orbit! (really nice for flying home) Wedding cake story: mine was made by my friend’s great aunt – as kids we were in her kitchen every day eating the trimmings from cakes she made for others. To control crumbs, she brushed each layer with some heated apple (I think) jelly. Each layer sat on top of the one underneath – no dowels – we had wedding bells on top which now go on our daughter’s Christmas tree each year. Good luck with your cake – wish I could be your next door neighbor!

  21. I would also recommend setting the curd with gelatin as one of the previous comments stated; it would help tremendously in reducing the odds of the cake sliding on you if you happen to have to hold it on an angle for any length of time. Straining it does reduce any grittyness that might be present, even for the most seasoned of curd-makers, and does ensure a silky-smooth curd. Good luck, again!

  22. OH I can’t wait to see CAKE photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buttercream/7 minute frosting photos, dowel / straw photos — PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS! What no BRIDE and GROOM up top? Since when did that become so hokey? Boo Hoo – that’s what I wanted when I was a bride! And … apparently (I had no idea) when the cake was delivered to the hotel (a Sylvia Weinstock beauty) the topper was left off! The Event planner from the Carlyle Hotel where the reception was held had to run out and buy 1!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can’t wait for your next installment!

  23. deb

    I love the curd-gelatin suggestion; any thoughts on how much gelatin is needed per cup of curd or are we just talking about a pinch? Does one cook it in when they’re getting the curd up to temperature? (I’m going to go Google this now, lest y’all think I’m helpless. But all advice is appreciated!)

    I don’t think straining the curd made a big difference, but now that I realize I’m only going to need to triple the recipe, it won’t actually be that big of a deal.

  24. Marci

    Hi – I’m new to the site but already a big fan and a regular home cook/baker. Still looking for a buttercream recipe I actually like (I love buttercream just not the ones I’ve tried to make) but now have a bunch more to try from your site and the comments on your wedding posts. Anyway, I’m curious as to why everyone thinks the buttercream is going to melt. I know it’s butter and butter gets soft, but my very first job was at a major bakery in Chicago that did lots of wedding and other cakes. They made only a few types of frosting – whipped cream, buttercream, wedding buttercream, ganache, cream cheese, and fondant. I didn’t bake there but sold the cakes and we were always told to recommend buttercream if it needed to hold up and a stiffer, whiter, sweeter “wedding” buttercream (but still buttercream) was always used for wedding cakes because of its ability to hold up in the heat. Unfortunately, I have no idea how they made either of these other than to have seen butter whipping in the industrial sized mixers. Can any of the more experienced bakers could offer some insight – seems like buttercreams cover a spectrum and some might be more heat-worthy than others?

  25. Lani

    Go with the seven minute frosting. At my church in Hawaii, we have never been able to use the buttercream, because the reception hall is open air…that poor little buttercream frosting doesn’t last 20 minutes in the heat. Good luck!

  26. t does wool

    the mango curd sounds heavenly…I like the idea of the swiss buttercream…I suppose because it’s my favorite…buttery with a pinch of salt…I am anxious for the finished piece!

  27. Deb, on comment #155 of your first cake post, SusanPrincess had a great suggestion for minimizing the *damage* to lower layers of the cake. Her exact words are, “Fine, unsweetened coconut under the upper tiers’ plates will keep the frosting below where it belongs when tier is removed.” When I read that I thought it sounded like a great idea, but who am I to judge? She sounded like an expert. Best wishes for an amazing experience and an even more amazing cake! Can’t wait to see the final product.

  28. Nora

    I love your blog, and have decided to come out of lurk-hiding to suggest that you have a look at Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. She has an interesting buttercream recipe that seems kind of half-way between a traditional buttercream and a powdered-sugar frosting. She specifically developed it for stability. I tried it for a large cake one summer and it held up well, and everybody raved about it. It’s easy and it tastes good, not too sickly-sweet but not a big slick of grease either. And no eggs. Good luck and thanks for many happy sessions of e-reading.

  29. kati

    I’ve been watching hours and hours of Good Eats on YouTube lately, so insert the requisite grains of Maldon here, but… I think I remember Alton saying that straining curd is the surefire way to keep the stringy thing that is attached to all yolks (the charizade?) out of the finished product.

    Do it, is my armchair advice.

    Alton’s also in the gelatin camp of curd-setting, btw.

    in amazement at your project!-

  30. Kara

    re: #4
    In your first cake post, someone made a suggestion for not having the frosting between each cake destroyed. I believe she said she’s used very fine, unsweetened coconut (have you seen this? It’s very very dry and almost powdery). The commenter has used the idea personally; I have not. But it sounded like a really good idea to me. The fine unsweetened coconut I’ve used before was not only dry and powdery, it was also nearly tasteless. So I don’t think it would raise a concern about adding a coconut component to the flavors. Might want to look for that comment and email her for details.

  31. Kara

    Okay, I just looked through the comments on cake post 1, and the one I was referring to is #155. Just figured you don’t have time to be going back through all those. :)

  32. vicki

    Sadly, I cannot offer any suggestions for your project but I can tell you that I am enjoying every picture and post of it! I will definitely make this mango curd filled cake when you finish posting on it! Good luck and I can’t wait to see how it is received at the wedding reception. Vicki

  33. I still think you are incredibly brave for making this wedding cake! But I am 100% in agreement with you about the importance of a delicious wedding cake. At my wedding last year, we skipped a true wedding cake entirely–partly because I was convinced it just wouldn’t be that great (like so many wedding cakes) and partly because the hotel in Midtown Manhattan where we had the wedding wanted to charge a cutting fee that was as much as the cake! Instead, we had a tower of the most amazing cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine, which were a huge hit, and used the money we saved to pay for half the honeymoon. But, if I had a friend like you who was willing to take on the project you may have been wrangled into service….

  34. Lauren

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but I’ve seen bakers stacking cakes use round circles of parchment paper between each cake for protection. I assume this works mostly on fondant-covered cakes, though. I don’t know if that helps. Gosh, I wish I got to try this! It looks delicious!

  35. Mallory

    I’d hesitate to use gelatin because it would be a shame to exclude the vegetarians from the cake, of all things.

  36. Eli

    Does it matter if the top of the bottom two layers is a bit messed up from the layers sitting on top? Once the cake is cut up, people will have such a small slice of top frosting per piece, they won’t really be able to tell.

  37. kasey

    Now I want to know who the mystery baker you mentioned is. :-) Good luck on your cake! It’s sounds really awesome!

  38. Mallory,

    I’m sure any true vegans would eschew a cake for the eggs alone, so the gelatin won’t hurt!

    The cake adventure sounds delightful Deb!

    I am an American expat living in China. When you posted about the ribs, I sent my husband out to buy a rack of ribs from the local meat vendor that day. When he came home, I was near tears, as I’d never seen a rack of ribs cut *that* way before. We ended up gifting the cooked mass of fat and bone to a neighbor.

    Lest you think I’m a giant wimp, this is how ribs are sold here:

    I love reading along your cooking tales, even if I can’t make half of the stuff with ingredients here! Have a great day!

  39. I’m a vegetarian & I eat eggs (eating some now for dinner!) but not gelatin. Not to sway your gelatin decisions, just offering my personal experience! Best of luck with the cake! It already looks lovely…and I admire your endurance…I would honestly probably test run once & hope for the best. ;)

  40. Sue

    I think you should consider an italian buttercream.
    I’ve had great success with this recipe at
    #227419. It’s durable, and you can make it in advance.
    Don’t be afraid when it starts looking awful, just keep going.
    Good luck. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  41. Regarding gelatin in the curd, I use one teaspoon per cup of curd and it works fine. And I always strain it, which is usually pretty easy if done while the curd is still warm. I’m also making a wedding cake as I type this (making Italian buttercream in about 5 minutes, delivering tomorrow), so I know how you feel right about now. Good luck!

  42. Alysia

    Answer to question #4. I recall you saying that you will be using fresh cut flowers to decorate. I suggest that you cut the dowels taller than the cake and cover up the small gap with the flowers. You might want to give yourself up to a quarter of an inch. Hope that works for you!

  43. Ashley

    Going along with what a few other people have said, The Cake Bible will do wonders to set your mind at ease–she does calculations by layer size (and shape!) and then you add the quantities from each layer together to get your totals for each aspect of the cake: batter, filling, frosting, the whole shebang!

    Go out and buy that book–your nerves will love you for it :)

  44. Hi Deb, you’re doing such a great job! I set up wedding cakes all the time so the way we do it is by using cake crumbs to keep the icing from sticking to the top board but shredded coconut works too. Plus if you let your iced cakes sit out, the icing should harden (I guess it depends on your icing though) and it shouldn’t be such a problem. Do not make the dowels taller than needed because then your bead border with have to be huge (like have to double border it or use a #7 tip), and this is not elegant. :)

  45. Ada

    Hey Deb! Delurking because I know the answer to one of your questions!

    When I made curd I strained it through a medium-fine (or perhaps just medium) sieve, and for 1.5 cups it took a few seconds and some prodding with the back of a spoon. And the curd turned out perfectly. That said, I’ve made unstrained curd before and that turned out perfectly too. My only concern would be the little fibers in the mango, since both of mine were lemon curd.

    In one of the said cakes, I used about 2/3 cup of curd per layer for a round 4-layer 8-inch cake… so that’s 2/3 of a cup per 50.3 square inches of cake… the amount of cake you are making requires about 6.52 of 2/3 of a cup so…. about 4.35 cups. So indeed, you should make about 3 to 4.5 times your recipe. I’d make 4.5 times just to be safe (and you can always freeze the leftover curd for later).

    No clue on the cake dowels…

    Good luck on your project!

  46. Deb,

    are you straining curd through a chinois or a tamis?

    attempt to find sheet gelatin– it’s much stronger than powdered.

    for a very strong gel (like a miroir) I use @100-200g liquid to one sheet ratio. I imagine it will be more like 200 for you. I believe you can get the sheet gelatin by way of JB Prince or just ask any favorite pastry chef/bakery to sell you a box. look for bronze or gold, not silver.

    are you making bavarian with the curd or using it straight? increase the acid to make up for the added protein of the gelatin and/or dairy.

    my cell phone is one if you have an emergency Q.

  47. Cath

    Mango curd sounds absolutely divine, and i’ve bookmarked the recipe for our next mango season – down under – we have to wait!

    I make and sell other curds, and found that if i do the stovetop cooking over the double boiler and whip it with my handheld mixer, this reduces the chances of the eggs forming strands. I also add my butter in the beginning stages and once that has melted find the temperature is right to switch to the hand held whisk.

    With the sieving, could you puree your mangoes first, then run through a food mill? this may get rid of the fibrous strands BEFORE you add the yolks.

    can’t wait to see the final pics.

  48. I am sorry I have nothing constructive to say, but I am in absolute awe of this project — how incredible and what an amazing gift you are giving them — the mango curd looks incredible. I just love anything mango!!

  49. i just read your list of ‘cakes’ and then saw at the top there were only a few drinks….I think after this huge wedding cake thing — maybe you need to add a new “cocktail” recipe : )

    you go girl!

  50. Wow, totally amazing!
    re: Swiss buttercream, perhaps the butter is too soft? When my mom does it (she owned a bakery and specialized in wedding cakes a zillion years ago), she doesn’t let the butter get soft- so a bit colder than room temp, a little on the cold side and cut in little pieces…and added a little bit at a time. And if breaks apart (this would be when I’m trying to make it) and gets too soft, she just has me chill it for a bit or put a smidge more butter. Don’t know if that heps.
    Good luck!

  51. Nickii

    I have to chime in and say that I disagree with using the 7 minute frosting. I used this for a birthday cake and it slid off the cake while we were cutting it. I live in Cayman and the party was outside in the evening. It wasn’t real hot (about 78-80), but it was humid. Everyone still loved the cake and frosting, but it didn’t look pretty.

  52. Fletch

    Three thoughts — First, I’ve had seven-minute icing melt before when transporting an iced cake on a humid day for an hour’s drive, so it’s not foolproof either. That said, I agree with others that it’s more stable than buttercream. Second, definitely strain the curd. Third, if you want to use gelatin in it, use gelatin. Some vegetarians eat it and some don’t. If it’s an issue for someone, s/he can feast on cookies and ice cream.

    Good luck!

  53. 1) I love 7 min frosting, but I don’t think it holds up very well over time. I have had good luck with Swiss Meringue, but Italian Meringue has never failed me – even in August.
    2) It has also been suggested to me to sprinkle powdered sugar between cake tiers to keep the board from sticking to the frosting below. I usually forget this step in assembly & some frosting sticks, but never is it such a problem that it renders pieces un-servable. (parchment paper seems very slippery for assembly)
    3) You didn’t ask, but . . . some people try to use drinking straws as cake support. I would not recommend this. Your cake is going to be very heavy . Use wooden dowels (which I think is your plan) or narrow pvc pipe – which is easier to cut.
    Good luck – I cannot wait to see the beautiful results!

  54. Deb – I don’t know who the bride and groom are for this wedding, but they have one fantastic friend in you. This is a true “labor of love”. I hope they appreciate it.

  55. 1/4 oz of gelatin will set 32 oz of liquid into a semi-firm state, which is what I’m sure you’re looking for. In regards to the vegetarians, you could always use agar agar. It’s sold at Asian markets, heath food stores and some specialty shops, and is made from seaweed. It works as well as gelatin and will not offend any vegetarians who want to taste your lovely creation. Hope that helps a bit : )

  56. Cameocreation

    Hi Deb, retired cake decorator here. I used to use wooden dowels but soon discovered that the small diameter white pvc pipe ( found @ your local hardware store, and washed please) cut with hand held garden pruners are definitely less likely to shift as you layer the upper cake tiers. Cut the pipe even with the top of the icing. 1. Cut the 1st dowel then using it as a guide cut 4-6 more exactly the same length. This will ensure that the next tier will be level. 2. Cut each subsequent tier dowels the same as not each tier will be exactly the same height. 3. Place the dowels evenly in a square about 1-1/2″ in from the edges of the NEXT cake tier up. I used 6 dowels on 16, and 14″ tiers, placing 1 or 2 more into the center of the cake, and 4 on all of the smaller tiers.
    I have always used coconut between the tiers. It blends into the icing on top of the cake and does a great job of keeping the frosting from sticking to the cardboard base of the next tier.
    Experience is a great teacher, we all need to pass ours along! You’re doing a great job, experience by osmosis….isn’t this fun?

  57. Mango curd sounds delicious, especially with a wilting mango in the fridge. Although I just made cupcakes and certainly don’t need to bake another cake anytime soon, maybe I’ll just eat the mango curd?

  58. I didn’t read through all 64 comments, but how to keep the layers from sticking – bakers shredded coconut. That was what was in between by wedding layers and my best friend and I had no problems removing a 10inch layer from the 12 below. It should be thick enough to cover the frosting, but not thick enough to create it’s own mound. As for the dowels, personally, since I had to go hunting for them as we started cutting, I would make them as close to flush with the icing as possible for easier retrieval.

  59. monica

    this is all so fun! I’m with the vegetarian-but-not-vegan crowd and I don’t eat gelatin. I think many vegetarian’s don’t.
    also, I think do the swiss buttercream if you can. it will be so much more wedding cake-y than 7 minute frosting.

  60. deb

    Thanks for all the ongoing advice!

    I’m still a tad confused about the coconut–how does that work if you don’t want coconut on any slices? And if the bride actively dislikes coconut? It seems to make more sense to give the dowels an extra 3/8-inch, as Martha suggests in the article someone kindly linked to, and pipe a larger pearl boarder. But what do I know? I’m a noob!

    I’m not decided on the gelatin. In the fifteen years I was one, I never asked a pastry chef if they included gelatin in their fillings, I simply understood that not everything could be controlled and that things are using in restaurants that I might not know about. That said, the bride doesn’t eat meat and well, that counts more than guests individual tastes to me!

  61. Jen

    I use the wilton hidden pillars with the separator plates. It protects the bottom layer from the one on top and the pillars in the bottom layer are easy to slice around so nobody ends up with a hole in their cake.

    As for the icing, I’ve stuck with my buttercream (half butter, half shortening) and it’s worked pretty well for me, that being said though – I keep them cool and all my customers have had indoor parties or at least an indoor place to keep the cake.

  62. Kara

    I’m sure this question is so obvious it might be insulting (please don’t take it that way!), but have you asked the bride whether she has an issue with gelatin? Obviously you can’t talk to every vegetarian on the guest list, but pretty easy to get the most important person’s take on that question! :)

  63. Melissa

    My mom made my wedding cake 6 years ago, so I’m really enjoying your posts. I’ve now made lots of wedding and baby shower cakes, but am not quite ready to tackle a wedding cake! I am a huge fan of curds — lemon and lime. When I am making something that seems more rustic, or if I’m cooking just for close family and friends, I skip the straining step. For a wedding cake, though, I’d definitely strain — it’s more elegant and refined in both look and taste. Best of luck!

  64. Rose Marie

    Hell will not freeze over if you do not strain the mango curd.
    Now—depending on the frosting you are using the top should not get messed up. Are you using the separator plates–the Wilton kind (or any other brand)? The separator plates come with the little plastic dowels also.
    I guess the question is–are the tiers gonna be placed on top of each other or will you have a space between tiers? I had never had a top of a layer get messed up when placing the next tier on it, but then I never used a 7-minute or boiled frosting either. I had always used what was called in class “a decorator’s icing/frosting”.
    It is close to the Wilton buttercream but there is a difference. You use Crisco instead of butter (it won’t melt like the butter would). Now before someone goes “oh no”, you can only use Crisco because any other brand will taste greasy. For what ever the reason the Crisco doesn’t have that greasy taste (tried to sub a different brand–got greasy taste) or texture.
    With the Crisco and the clear or powdered vanillia your frosting will hold up to boo-boos, heat, and be a nice white color. Butter and a dark vanilla will make it not as bright.
    You can also pipe the decorations (flowers, string work, shells) with this frosting.
    To make the frosting smooth, use Viva paper towels. Again this is a thing that no other brand that I have found will do (learned that in class and by trying a different brand). (Unless you are going for that swirled look.)
    Good Luck

  65. Deb–I talked to a pastry chef about Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and the separating problem. He said to make sure the egg whites are cooled down enough before you add the butter. And add the butter slowly, making sure it gets incorporated before you add the next tablespoon or so. He also mentioned the kitchen torch on the outside of the bowl to reincorporate everything (which I find confusing, since doesn’t the initial separation problem come from too-hot egg whites? whatever, he’s the expert) He also said that if it STILL is all icky separated, just keep mixing and it should (key word being “should”) come together. I can’t speak to the heat problems you may have, and Swiss Meringue Buttercream is ambitious, but I think it is soooo scrumptious, and like you, don’t ever want to be defeated by it. Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

  66. I am with the bride on the coconut-aversion. I love the suggestions of using crumbs or sugar instead of the coconut. Those seem like they would work as well without adding a ‘taste’.

    I love this whole line of posting. It is so amazing to see all the responses and help.

    As to the dowels, I think whatever makes you most comfortable. If you go higher than 3/8″ then you will have no concerns about the frosting of lower layers and I believe that is when the decorator uses flowers between the layers, to mask the dowel height. You can make any height dowel work with your decoration, either larger bead or a ring of petals, or whole flowers.

    I think this is going to be wonderful and if I had any talent/inclination I would have to try some of these mango curd suggestions for a cake. Maybe my birthday!

  67. sherry

    hey love your blog- i make wedding cakes for my friends sometimes-

    7 min frosting holds up best in heat.the frosting lasts an amazing amount of time outside just no direct sun.

    do not make the dowels taller just at frosting surface is good. your frosting where the cake rounds touch does get messed up but not ugly and its ok. a small gap between rounds looks really weird.

    you don’t have to strain the curd- only foodie freaks will know the difference in stringiness.

    bring a repair kit of a icing bag and a cake spatula-

    make everything a little early and let it set in your fridge before moving. find boxes to transport too. have extra hands to help carry assembled cake. it gets super heavy.

    good luck!

  68. The Teen Chef

    Hi Deb, I love you website it is very interesting and all of the recipes look delicious, any ways i was always told when making a layered cake to not frost until you have the whole entire cake assebled, that way your frosting doesn’t get messed up and it actually makes frosting easier.

  69. I am still incredibly impressed with your venture and it’s so interesting to read about the progress.

    I would probably strain the curd…just to be on the safe side (maybe you can ask someone for help and have this be their job? :)).

  70. another Gwen

    I’d like to second the person who suggested you get The Cake Bible.. I’d vote for a real buttercream over seven minute frosting – I used the seven minute kind last week when I had to have a dairy free icing and it looks pretty but it just doesn’t have the flavor. Sounds like you’ve gotten plenty of suggestions for keeping icing intact between layers although in my experience no one notices if their piece isn’t perfect and yes, straws do work. I doubt anyone would notice that the cake filling hadn’t been strained either, it’s not like they’re eating it with a spoon, it will be in a bite with cake anyway. Just make sure you get that hunk of white stuff in the egg separated out with the whites instead of the yolks and if you really want to strain it maybe try a slightly less “fine” strainer… and I have got to try than mango curd, sounds beyond delicious.

  71. Deb-
    Here’s a quick thought…If you’re going to use the 7 minute frosting (all I’m saying is it isn’t a wedding frosting, but if that’s what they want….) think about the weight of one layer of cake being on top of another, and whether or not the 7 minute frosting will keep the curd from oozing out. Something like an Italian meringue (or something with butter that can harden with refrigeration, but Italian meringue is my preference) will be able to make a MUCH better seal to keep the curd between the layers. Also, since the 7 minute frosting has no fat it in, it’s not going to be a great barrier anyway…it will be a lot easier for the icing and the curd to mix. So, even if you don’t to use a buttercream (but please do!!!!), think about using a ganache or something that can harden, and that will have enough fat in it to keep the curd in between the layers. It might not seem like it, but even if you have a twelve inch cake with three (or two) layers, the weight of the top layer on the bottom can be quite substantial causing seepage. So just keep that in mind.

    Italian meringue is much more stable than Swiss meringue, and I’d say more stable than seven minute too. If it’s humid out, you’re going to have more issues with the seven minute frosting weeping, and just not performing as well. So that kind of limits when you can make the icing. And after you make it, you’ll have to use it quickly. You’ll have less working time with that icing too. If you totally messed up icing a cake with Italian meringue (or any other icing for that matter) you could scrape it off the cake and start over with the same icing. With seven minute icing, it would have set up, and you’d have to go start another batch. If you think about it, you’re probably going to make to make the icing and ice and decorate the cake the day before the wedding (and we’re assuming the cakes will have been baked and frozen, so at least you don’t have to worry about THAT!). With any other type of icing, you could make it a couple of days in advance…and have a little breathing room. You could even ice the cake two days in advance and store the layers in the fridge if you used a “regular” icing (assuming it doesn’t smell like Thai takeout in there!).

    One more thing…I don’t know how you’re planning on decorating this cake. But, any decoration or border is going to look less crisp and sharp when made out of seven minute icing. In fact, I don’t even know if I’d recommend doing it. You’re at least going to want some sort of decoration to cover where one cake meets the other, so think about flowers or something like that. I can’t keep you from choosing the seven minute icing, but I can at least tell you what you’re getting yourself into. And if you’re ok with still doing it, then more power to you.

    Oh, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but don’t go with a powdered sugar and shortening icing with clear vanilla extract. It’s awful. You might as well get a cake from a grocery store! Even if it holds up well, it tastes like crap. I had recommended making the Italian meringue with SOME shortening a couple of days ago, but that’s as far as I’d go. Shortening will increase the melting point of the icing (which isn’t a bad thing for sure), but add too much, and you get this waxy coating on your tongue…it’s gross.

  72. If you get smooth and silky mangoes in the first place, I think you can just puree them and you won’t need to strain. Look them up, I think Tommy Atkins mangoes are the best ones for this, as they are not stringy at all. They are a popular variety of mango, so hopefully, you can find them where you shop. I always just ask the produce guys for stringless mangoes, but they definitely know their produce where I shop, and you might not be so lucky. So I’d research first and find yourself the proper sort of mangoes, then forgo the straining. It will save you so much time, and personally, I think straining is silly. Who sits there with something totally delicious in their mouth thinking, “This is great, but too bad there’s a teeny chunk of mango in here”??? Really?!!

  73. Stephanie

    I tried to read everything to see what was said, but I didn’t have time. I hope I’m not repeating anything.

    I just made my first wedding cake a month or so ago – and you just REALLY want to make sure that all your dowels are the same size. It doesn’t matter if it is a little under or a little over, just as long as they are all the same size. It will wobble terribly if you don’t do this. I also used the heavy duty/reusable plastic cake rounds, and I’m glad I did. I think it made my cake that much more stable. And – you have to take a “who cares” attitude about frosting underneath a layer that will be hidden. And realize that EVERYTHING can be fixed with a little extra frosting (placed nicely in a piping bag with a coupler that you can change out tips) and an off-set spatula.

    I made Swiss Meringue for the cake and it was in a relatively hot/humid place (80 degrees) for a few hours before it got pretty cold. It held up perfectly. The comments that you will get from people (O my gosh – that’s the best frosting I’ve ever eaten) will be well worth the minor effort. If you can make 7 minute frosting, you can make Swiss Meringue – I actually think the 7 minute frosting is harder. It will be worth it.

    Your cake sounds lovely, and the recipient will be ever so grateful. Good Luck!

  74. SusanPrincess

    DANGER: If you make the dowels taller than the cake tier, you increase the chance of the cake moving around on or even sliding off the dowels. If they are even with the cake surface, or even 1/8″ below, the upper tier has some grip on the suface below it. Then if someone bumps the table, all is not lost!

    When I had a client who was deathly allergic to coconut, we separated all the tiers with clear pillars that fastened to the bottom of the cake plate and inserted directly into the tier below, leaving a pristine frosting surface. It also had the benefit of easy assembly without on-site decorating, as well as easy serving. I used the same set when I transported a 3-tier cake 200 miles to a summer, outdoor wedding and had nary a flaw on arrival. Mine were Wilton brand.

  75. Hannah

    I live in central Texas, and in the summer Seven Minute Icing (at least the version I’ve always used) crystalizes and hardens badly in humidity. I have no idea how humid New York is in the summer, but high humidity + seven minute icing = crunchy fail. I made a Lane cake in August one time and the icing practically powdered off when you cut into it.

    I don’t know anything about the swiss meringue, but I hate recipes that make me cry in the middle.

    I’m watching this series with great interest and I wish you all the best!

  76. Hannah again

    BTW: I am frightfully allergic to mango (I know, tis terrible and developed later in life so I aquired a taste for mango before I was crippled by allergy) so I am really, really jealous of you and the wedding guests.

    I guess I can live vicariously through you guys, however.

  77. Nicole M

    I have no advice so I’ll just offer my encouragement. If the cake looks and tastes half as good as everything else on this site it’s still going to be one of the best wedding cakes ever! Don’t fret too much about messing up the icing when stacking the layers. Little imperfections can always be covered with flowers and anything worse can always become the back side of the cake where nobody will see it. You’ve inspired me to try my own cake experimentation this weekend.

  78. Gosh, what a lot of comments! I made a pierre herme type of very decadent lemon curd and it didnt get sieved but it was supposed to be buzzed with a hand blender for something like 8 mins. I dont think that helps much as that would be just as annoying! Good luck you’re amazing!

  79. Becky

    When I made my daughter’s birthday cake, I followed a previous commentator’s suggestion of using crisco. I actually used half crisco, half butter and the frosting was delicious, not greasy at all. And it held up great. My limited experience is that buttercream doesn’t hold up well in the heat and humidity but with crisco substituted it will fare better.

  80. Amanda

    For #4, use parchment paper between the layers. Cut a piece about 2″ smaller than the layer above it (i.e., if your middle layer is 10″, cut an 8″ square to put between the bottom and middle layers. That will protect the icing on the lower layer, yet not show between the layers. Worked beautifully for us…

  81. Anna

    I think it’s totally unnecessary to strain curd. It’s fruit curd, so if it has a few pieces of fruit in it, um, okay. When it comes to the quantity of curd (God, I hate the word ‘curd’), I’d say overestimate drastically. Leftover curd freezes magnificently, and it’s always better to have too much than too little!

  82. Ana

    Most curd really doesn’t need to be strained.

    If you’re worried about stringiness, though, you could also try pureeing canned Alphonse mangoes (available in Indian grocers- try Kaluystan’s in Murray Hill). They have an incredibly sweet, sunny, tropical flavor, and because of the canning process, the texture is softer (and less stringy) than fresh mangoes can be.

    Best of luck.

  83. As you are using the wilton dowels, did you happen to see that they have cake plates (not sure what they actually call them) that are made to go under the cake, with inserts that fit into the dowels, automatically giving you that tiny bit of space and making it easier to separate the layers?

  84. Jeff


    Love the blog! I have been reading it for over a year now!

    I don’t know much about baking but I have helped with a few weddings and other events and the one thing I would like to suggest is to have a friend on call for emergency help. Someone you trust to run back to your place for that one thing you forgot or to run to the store and bring back exactly what you need.

    It would be best if they are not involved in the wedding in any way so if you are stuck working on the cake while everyone is socializing, you won’t be pulling them away too.

    If there is one thing that is predictable about planning events, it is that something unplanned will happen. You need someone to do that one thing that must be done, while you are doing that other thing that must be done.

  85. Katie in Berkeley

    Another input on the gelatin debate: it not only makes the cake not vegetarian, but not kosher, either, which might be a bigger deal depending on the guest list. That being said, the bride being veggie seems like the strongest argument against it. I’ve never made anything of this scale but I’ve had success with agar-agar in stabilizing whipped cream.

    There’s more nuanced information about the kosher/pareve status of gelatin in the Wikipedia Kosher foods article.

    I’m loving this series of posts! Thanks for sharing all your hard work with us.

  86. Kim

    Hmmm … I love the mango curd idea. My fave treats are lemon curd or lime curd bars — like a lemon bar, but w/lemon curd topping. I’ll have to try them with mango curd!

  87. Homer

    You can use dowels that are slightly taller than the layer of the cake. It all depends on how you decide to decorate it. I have seen some awesome cakes where the dowels were slightly taller, leaving a little bit of space between layers, and then the decorator used that space to her advantage. Then again, I have never made such a cake personally.

  88. I LOVE this blog and reading about this mango curd makes me want to go to Whole Foods and stock up on mangos. The only time I’ve ever eaten them, I had grabbed a bag of them at the store and brought them home only to freak out about HOW TO EAT THEM. I let them rot in the bottom of the pantry. :( I felt so wicked. But reading about this deliciously sounding recipe gives me new hope!

  89. another Gwen

    One more mango curd thought – if you want it really smooth without straining try using a blender instead of the food processor. I make apple butter in a blender and when I tried it with the food processor I just couldn’t get it as smooth and I’m betting the same would be true of your mangoes.

  90. Mike

    Hey Deb,

    I’m not sure I understand why you’re fretting over the iced layers between the cakes. In every wedding I’ve ever worked, the dis-assembly and cutting of the cake happens behind closed doors. If they’re cutting standard “wedding-cake” slices (i.e. small rectangles, rather than wedges) any icing debacles will not be noticeable on the plates.

  91. deb

    I’m actually not sure why people don’t understand why I’m fretting! ;)

    The cakes are 12-inch, 10-inch and 8-inch square and the layers will be stacked. There will only be a one-inch border around each cake that is not covered by the cake board of the cake above it. If those covered areas–most of them–are messed up, that means that all of those slices–most of them–will have botched tops. If they have coconut on them when nobody involved in the wedding likes coconut, the vast majority of the slices will be something people don’t like, etc.

    Does that make more sense? (It’s entirely possible that it doesn’t. This process has me overthinking things, just a bit!)

  92. deb

    P.S. The mango curd is made! I used small yellow mangoes from the Caribbean that the grocer in Chelsea Market swore to me were the best, and indeed they were. The curd is a delight.

  93. anna

    this might be the least helpful advice ever, but–I helped cut the cake at a friend’s wedding last summer and just re-frosted the tops a bit where the paper stuck. :)

  94. This may also be less than helpful, and may not be the look you are going for, but I will put it out there anyway. In my baking classes, the instructor always told us to put buttercream or whipped cream underneath a curd filling when you are filling large layers. So basically, the filling would be layered as well. Curd is pretty unstable, and you don’t want wedding cake layers flying around!

  95. taash

    First, I just stumbled across your blog, and what a tremendous pleasure! I started a brownie business last year, and I am absolutely with you: in my book, there’s just no such animal as a “too-fudgy brownie”.

    My mum has made wedding cakes for friends, and NYC summers are just death on buttercream. She’s used fondant instead (I have a recipe somewhere for one you can make in the food processor, and surprisingly enough, it’s very good!) but without practice, it’s tough to get it to come together in a smooth, patch-free layer. I’m sure you know already that if you don’t spread the curd too close to the edges of the layers, seepage shouldn’t be a problem, but if you do a “crumb coat” of either jam or buttercream before the final coat, it should contain any wayward filling and give the exterior layer a beautifully smooth, finished appearance.

    Best of luck with this; I await the next installment with bated breath!

  96. Jo

    I can’t believe it…After one mildy successful wedding cake and one absolute bomb (in my eyes, anyway) I think you are luring me back into the world of wedding cakes (don’t tell my friends!). Well done on all your prep.
    Random question – you don’t have any pressure cooker recipes or hints, do you? Just got given one from my birthday and they’re meant to be brilliant for whipping up fantastic curries in a flash, but I have to admit I am scared of carnage – they’re kind of scary…

  97. Amy

    Chiming in late in the game – as I have been on work travel and am just now catching up. Having worked for a bakery that specialized in wedding cakes, I congratulate you on tackling this task for friends. I still cater for small weddings but leave the cakes to others. : ) You are a wonderful friend to do this. Hope the bride and groom appreciate the love and care that you are putting into this.

    Couple of thoughts:
    1 – Glad to see you went with the dowels. It’s one less thing to stress about.
    2 – Make sure the florist who is providing the extra flowers for decoration knows that you are using on a cake. There are pesticides that you don’t want in the icing. Not always something the flower folks think of.
    3 – 1 1/2″ ivory ribbon can be your best friend in a pinch. Lightly wrapped around the layers to cover the slight gap where the plates are can be easier than piping buttercream if you run short on time.
    4 – 7-minute versus buttercream. I am in the buttercream camp because of NYC humidity and how light 7 minute is. Even with a little more stress, I think it will be worth it.

    Best of luck to you! You are doing beautifully!
    P.S. Don’t even get me started on the empty freezer… : )

  98. DEFINITELY strain the curd! I have made my curd strained and unstrained, and for sure the time I DON’T strain it is the time I find weird thingies in the curd. It’s worth it to always, always strain.

    And, you were a pastry chef for 15 years? Huh? How did I miss that in all the time I’ve read your blog?

  99. deb

    We did strain the curd, you can see updates in the entries that follow this one. Not sure where you got the impression that I was a pastry chef; it is not the case.

  100. In comment 67, you said “I’m not decided on the gelatin. In the fifteen years I was one, I never asked a pastry chef if they included gelatin in their fillings“…and at first I too thought you meant in the 15 years you were a pastry chef

    then i figured it out
    in the 15 years you were vegetarian (is that it?)
    maybe that’s what the previous commenter thought too

  101. Dilly

    Hey! Realy awsome blog! I’m making a wedding cake for a friend in which there will be this delicious mango curd. I was wondering if I could leave the cake out on the counter with the fondant, for 24 hours. The wedding is on saturday and I will be making the cake on friday. What do you think ???

  102. Kat

    Hi, what an awesome blog. I’m commenting because I just got married, and used your Project Wedding Cake section in my research to bake my own wedding cake. It was SO helpful! My mom and I ended up doing it, (she baked, I filled and decorated), and it was a rousing success. We used your mango curd recipe for the yellow butter cake tiers, and we also did a chocolate tier with raspberry whipped cream filling. It was fabulous. Thank you so much for giving me the courage to bake our wedding cake, and to reassure myself that I was not, in fact, insane. Also, I love your blog! You’re one of my new favorites.


  103. Just wanted to thank you for this fantastic mango curd recipe! I stuffed it in some white cake cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting and it was just delicious. The lime juice was a great adaptation. My website link travels to the post where I wrote up the cupcakes.

    Many thanks also for posting your beautiful pumpkin cupcakes with the roses on top! You inspired me to watch some tutorial videos and try to create my own on top of my cupcakes. I loved the result.

  104. Stacey

    I need to join the ranks of those who adore this recipe! I used the vanilla & mango curd combo just last weekend and was more popular at the party than the birthday girl (not my intention!) – I’ve scored numerous other invites and offers of cash for cake – I referred them all here to read up on making it themselves. :0)

  105. Greene

    I had dreams of making a yellow cake, covered with brown sugar frosting, and filled with mango curd this week…
    until I got to the grocery store and saw the state of the mangoes (tiny, bruised, unhappy things)
    How do you think the curd recipe would work with peaches (canned but still better then the lumps they called mangoes?

  106. Jenn

    I’m doing my first wedding cake this weekend – lovely vanilla buttermilk cakes are all in the freezer, buttercream is happening tonight and blackberry-lavender curd tomorrow – but I thought I’d re-read this for moral support and saw some mention of gelatin in the curd. did you end up doing this? do you remember how much gelatin? Mine hasn’t been as set as I’d like in the test batches so maybe that is the way to go.

    thank you!

    1. deb

      I don’t remember how much gelatin but I used sheets. You can always add more as needed though you’ll have to fully warm each batch and fully cool it between additions to see if you’ve got the right set.

  107. Tone

    Deb, are you still reading these comments?
    I know you said the mango curd was delicious and you haven’f failed me yet. Looked up the reviews on epicurius and there were concerns that it was rather “eggy”
    I’m not a fan of eggy… Ive never had any type of curd, but mango is my favorite flavor. Are curds, in general, eggy? If yes, Was the mango curd particularly eggy?
    Hope you’re still around!
    I just moved to Tahoe, CA and am missing NY..particularly Brooklyn bad! Those L.I pics from your vacation made me jealous.

    1. deb

      I always read comments! It didn’t taste eggy to me. Maybe the reviewer had strong-tasting eggs? Weak-tasting mango? Not sure. Make a tiny batch, see if it’s for you. Try not to eat the whole dish in one sitting. :)

  108. LickyLicky

    Regarding cake stacking… I didn’t have time to read through all the comments, so it may have been answered already. I’ve used straws and dowels. Straws are pretty sturdy; you’d be surprised. They work because it’s even pressure on the end, so they can’t collapse on the sides like they do when they bend after being mashed. Either or, pretty much whatever I have on hand. I’ve even used those bamboo skewers intended for kabobs on the bbq. I like those because they are pointy and if you need to, you can drive them through a cake board easily. When I do either, I cut the dowels and push them down into the cake for measurement, then pull them back up a bit with a large pair of tweezers. Leaving them stick out about an inch or so allows you to center the round above on them and slowly lower it with your fingers underneath until you run out of room… by that time, the tier is so close to the one below that it will pretty much stay centered. when you pull your fingers out, it drops and pushes the dowels back into the cake below. It doesn’t mash them into the cake, so you still have a little wiggle room if you want to move the tier around. You can then use another thin skewer or anything thin through the top of the tier to push it down a little and get your final placement. I end up with very little, if any, damage to either tier because I’m minimally touching them. You just have to ice over the tiny hole in the top tier if you’re not covering it. If you are, no worries!

    Also, if you run out of parchment, or if you don’t want paper between the tiers, you can use powdered sugar on top of the iced tiers. It keeps the bottom of the cake board above from sticking to the icing and you don’t have to worry about peeling it off. It’s just a little sugar so it doesn’t really affect the taste.

    I love your blog, even though I just found it.

  109. Rams

    Hi deb,
    i’m planning to make this curd. In the recipe there is no mentioning of gelatine, but in the comment #120 you said you used sheets. I’m confused a littla bit. Can you please clarify me?

    1. deb

      Gelatin is not necessary. It is sometimes used to set the curd to make it stiffer to better hold the weight of cake. I’m not an expert on setting things with gelatin sheets — like 100% of everything else on this cake, I did it for the first time with these posts — but roughly, you soak them according to package directions (you might use 1, 2, 3, or even 5 depending on the size and how “set” you want it), gently squeeze out the extra liquid, gently warm the curd, dissolve a single sheet in the curd and let it full cool off again to see if it is “set” enough. If it is not, you can try again with an additional sheet. You want to do it carefully and slowly like this, even though it is time consuming, because you don’t want to accidentally turn your filling into an unpleasant Jell-O. Hope that helps.

  110. nani

    Hi deb. I made the curd according to your recipe and as i dont have any gelatine i didn’t use it. I frosted a small cake with mango curd filling and frosted with swiss meringue . I have couple of issues…
    – i put the cake in the refrigerator, so when i tried to cut , the meringue become little bit stiff.Is it good to serve this type of cake at room temperature with mango curd? does the mango curd go bad at room temperature?
    -when i tried to cut the cake the curd was oozing out how can i rectify it?
    -and i want to ask you whether i can use gelatine powder instead of sheets and reheating the curd means is it over a water bath or directly on the heat?
    Thank you so much for your recipes…

    1. deb

      nani — The way to fix oozing is to set it with gelatin. Most pastry chefs use gelatin sheets; they’re a little more reliable and easy to use in smaller, measured amounts. Swiss meringue can be at RT.

  111. kesha

    Could I use mango puree? If so, do you know how much and if it should be unsweetened? I assume that if it is sweetened, I would decrease the sugar in the recipe. I thought to maybe use 15 oz but I just want to make sure. I made this with fresh mangoes before and it was divine! I am just not too sure that the magoes in the grocery stores here will taste their best.

  112. kesha

    Could I use the mango puree in place of the fresh mango for the curd? I rushed off and purchased frozen mango chunks instead. I hope they aren’t bitter! Do you think frozen mango is okay to use? I loved how this tasted with the fresh mango when I made this last summer but I am baking my anniversary cake for next weekend. I am probably just paranoid but I want the mangoes to taste their best. Thank you for all of your help.

  113. Anna

    Do you think I can use mangoo puree from Trader Joe’s to substitute for the real mango in this recipe? I do not have a food processor. If so .. how much should I use?

  114. Anna

    Nevermind. I should have read the post above me:( Just to confirm: I cannot use Trader Joe’s mango puree and add lime to it, some sugar and salt and then butter. It will not be the same as using real mango?

    1. deb

      Frosting. It’s to keep the filling neatly inside once the layers are stacked. It’s very hastily piped on — this was just a practice cake and I was rushing.

  115. Anna

    OK. I made the vanilla cake mango curd butter cream frosting part of the wedding cake for my mom’s Birthday. Because I did not read the directions carefully, I made 2 layers instead of 3 which I then had to turn into 4, I baked the cake for about an hour even though your recipe said 28 minutes and my mango curd does not appear as thick as yours although I did follow the directions in this particular case. I had to get all sort of equipment including a small food processor for the mango pure, cake pans, some sort of frosting appliance and a thermometer. I was also forced to open my Kitchen Aid which I got as a gift approximately a year ago. Anyway Thank you very much! I could never have done this without your blog. I’ve never done anything like this before. Also I have completely gotten over my fear of cooking with butter. I think I used 8 sticks for this cake.

  116. Jessica

    Okay, I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a long time and just got around to making it. I used a Haitian mango, lemon juice instead of lime (fresh out!), and pureed in a Magic Bullet. It tastes AMAZING and is smooth as silk…I can taste nearly all the ingredients but it’s so rich and delicious…yum! Thank you a million times over for this recipe, which I’ll probably be making weekly lol.

  117. Psyche1226

    Hey Deb — I’m making my first wedding cake (SQUEE!) for a friend, and I’m looking fora good recipe for strawberry curd…have you ever come across one? Or alternatively, do you think I could successfully swap out strawberries for the mango in this recipe?

    If you think that would work, about how much strawberry puree would I be looking at? It’s hard to tell since the recipe calls for a 15 ounce mango and part of that weight would of course be the pit…

  118. Alina

    Dear Deb…

    I recently found your website, and these posts have inspired me to make the cake for my grandparents’ birthday. They both turned 75 this year, so we’re having a big party/family reunion next weekend. I make lots of cakes, usually for birthdays, but nothing on this scale. I have a few questions, and would greatly appreciate any response from your or your lovely readers.
    First, I made a mango curd a few days ago, and it tasted almost metallic. Not at all yummy, not even after sitting in the fridge for a few days. Any suggestions?
    Secondly, the mango curd seems to cause slippage between the cake layers, even with a frosting damn around the edges. I tried a 2 layered 6-inch round cake, and frosting it was a pain because the layers kept slipping. Will a 12 inch cake be heavy enough to prevent that?
    Finally, I’ve been using the “Sky High” cake cookbook. (I love it!!!!) and she has a recipe for mango mousse in there. Do you think that would work in lieu of the curd if I can’t get the curd to cooperate? Have you tried it?

    Thanks so much for your inspiration and for your time.

    PS I caught you on NPR the other day and snorted my iced tea when you made the comment about MIL sabotage :)

    1. deb

      Alina — You can set the mango curd with a bit of sheet gelatin (you’ll have to experiment to see how much; simply warm it gently, dissolve a sheet in it, let it cool completely and totally to see how much it gels and if you’d like it to gel further, repeat the process again) to stiffen it up so that it doesn’t cause as much slippage. Did you mango curd come into contact with any reactive metals, like aluminum? That could have caused it.

  119. Look who is a little late to the party. It has been a bumper crop of mangoes in Costa Rica this year. Today I bought a crate of mangoes for $5 and am on the hunt for recipes.

    I plan to use your curd recipe for a tartlet. I am also making mango jam. If that doesn’t use up all my mangos, I slice and peel the rest for smoothies.

    I’ve been making a yummy cobbler with the mango that is beyond scrum-deli-icious. No recipe just fresh chopped fruit, a touch of sugar and vanilla with a crunchy oatmeal topping. Sometimes simplicity is the best approach.

  120. Hi Deb,
    I’ve been in awe with this post…not sure how I missed this from…um a few years ago! Anyway, I made the mango curd for one of my cakes because my mangos were about to bite the dust. I noticed you said you froze the curd. Could you tell me how long you froze it, and how did the curd behave afterwards? This is my first time working with curd so I am not really sure how long it can keep in the fridge or the frozen/thaw process. Cake looks wonderful….what a great friend to take on this task!!

  121. Laura

    Hi Deb

    The vanilla cake and mango curd look scrumptious and have inspired me to cake greatness..I hope.
    I have been tasked with making all the desserts for my boyfriend’s parents’ 25th wedding anniversary party *gulp*.

    One of which will be a triple layer cake using your amazing looking vanilla buttermilk cake recipe, with strawberry buttercream frosting and strawberry curd between the layers. So my question is exactly the same as Psyche 1226 above (sorry if I missed your reply) can the mango be swapped with strawberries in this recipe? and if so what kind of amount would you suggest?

    1. deb

      Laura — It might work with strawberries, but I haven’t tried it so cannot say for sure or offer adjustments. It’s definitely worth it to make a tiny batch and see if you like it. Though, really, how you possibly not like strawberry curd, even imperfect strawberry curd, right?

  122. Marie

    The Mango curd looks yummy. Have been baking your Lemon Layer Cake for so many times now and it goes so quick every time. Will try using this Mango Curd for my son’s birthday next weekend. I know it will go as quick as the Lemon Cake. Thanks for the recipe

  123. M A

    I hope this might be helpful for anyone who’s looking for dairy-free mango curd – I subbed earth balance coconut spread for the butter, and skipped the pinch of salt, and, well, beyond deliciousness. Tropical and perfect.

  124. Rissa

    Hi Deb, what can I use as lime substitute? Lime is not so frequent here in the Philippines. I can only think of lemon and calamansi. Please advise. Thanks so much!

  125. i’m not sure if you’ve received this info or not already, I didn’t have a chance to read all of the comments but place a piece of parchment paper under each tier as you stack them. This will at least keep the buttercream from pulling away while removing the top tier although some may also stick to the parchment when removed. It helps.

  126. Iliana

    Hi! I’m making my sister’s wedding cake and I want to try your mango curd recepie and buttermilk cake. The wedding will be in Mexico City (day/garden) and she wants the cake covered in fondant. Do you have any recommendatios for the cake (as I´ll be baking in really high altittude)? I know fondant increases the temperature of the cake, do you recommend I use the mango curd anyway???

  127. Valerie

    Hi Deb! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your many wonderful recipes. I’ve been in love with your work ever since coming across this (perfect) mango curd recipe years ago when I needed to provide a dessert for a gourmand relation’s wedding dessert buffet. (Needless to say, it was a hit.) I’m currently making your slow-roasted tomatoes for tomorrow night’s pasta. So, thanks for making my life more delicious. : )

  128. Lisa

    Well, I made the mango curd tonight, which turned out to be a large batch of mango-citrus curd, because I read the recipe wrong! I thought it was the juice of three limes not 3 tablespoons of lime juice! So I added more sugar, and then it was too sweet, so I added more mango–still too sweet! So I juiced an orange, added that. Then the juice of a lemon, then–what the heck–another lime (oh, the experimentation!). I used nine egg yolks and one stick of butter. It tastes really lemony right now. We’ll see how it is tomorrow after it cools. Love your website.

  129. Jade

    For those who have asked about using frozen mango (and probably for the other frozen fruits):

    I just made a double batch of mango curd with 1 lb. of frozen mango chunks (defrosted and then continue as per recipe) and it turned out great! I used the smaller amount of sugar suggested and the curd is pleasantly tart. I also added a touch of cornstarch to give a bit of added thickening so we will see how it holds up in the layer cake I’m making for lab.

    As a side note I’m making this to go with the “Best Birthday Cake” yellow cake recipe and the flavor of the curd overwhelms it a bit (in a good way… but I want to try this with a coconut cake next time).

  130. Hi Deb,

    How long does this mango curd keep? I’m making a mango-filled layer cake for mother’s day and would love to make the filling in advance (like maybe 5-8 days ahead of time.) Does it freeze ok or will it be alright in the fridge for that time?


  131. Christina

    I just made this curd for my daughters birthday cake and its delicious. I did reduce the sugar to 1/3c and I found it plenty sweet enough. Thanks!!

  132. Bunny

    Hey Deb, can I use this curd to fill a tart? does it slice nicely?
    Does the mango flavour really come out, or is it a subtle mango-ey taste, lingering in the background?
    I’m worried that if I’ll have to stabilize the curd with cornstarch, then the flavour won’t be as strong. I know that I can use gelatin but I would rather not.

    1. deb

      Ooh, that would be delicious. The curd is on the soft side, but I think it will be fine for that. If you really want it to be stiffer, you can try it with an additional yolk.

  133. Bunny

    I have no idea. But I just made it, as is, and I had a bit leftover for an 8 inch tart.
    Also, I strained it through a sieve and it was remarkably fast- maybe 1 minute, def not 10. Maybe it’s because my sieve wasn’t as fine as yours? I used a normal sized sieve, but not as fine as the “Jewish sieves” used to sift flour.
    It could also be because the mango I used was fiberless [which, accidentally, is called in hebrew SIV [sivim- plural] and is pronounced “sieve” (: — wow I’m weird] so there was not alot to sift out.

  134. Katie

    Hi Deb- how many cups of curd did you end up needing? I am making the same size cake as you did, but all vanilla/mango. Trying to figure out how much curd I need! Thank you!

  135. anna

    Hello! I have made this before with great success with the fresh mango…Now, I have mango that is already pureed (no additives). How many cups of that puree should I use in this recipe to make the curd? I read somewhere that the one mango would yield 1 cup of pieces, so I’d imagine roughly a 1/2 cup of puree??

  136. I just made your mango curd recipe. I have an overabundance of mangoes and just made a pavlova shell so wanted to do something with the left over egg yolks. Bam! It’s divine and on New Year’s Day will be served up alongside the pavlova as a choose-your-own topping.

  137. Zion

    For as long as I can remember, I have always loved mango! And I’ve always loved cake! So it’s a great combination. It’s a win-win scenario. Thanks for all of your great ideas.


  138. making a cake for a wedding ceremony can be a great headache and a tough job. Because we have to check and make sure that everything is on its proper place and symmetry…This one looks great too :D

  139. Karen

    I made the curd yesterday and it was delicious! And very thick, so perfect for the inside of a cake. Unless I’m using it for cake filling, I’d make it with only two or three yolks instead of 4 so that it’s less thick. I like a looser curd for scones. And I think I’d add some lime zest or maybe more lime juice. My mangoes were very sweet, and I’d like a little more tart.

  140. Hy Dude Hmmm.This is fantastic site I love the mango curd idea.i made this. My fave treats are lemon curd or like a lemon bar, but lemon curd topping. I’ll have to try them with mango curd! This is like a TV show, just waiting for the next episode to show what will be next! I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.

  141. Kyle

    I had some very ripe champagne mangoes so I made this today. It came out great. The only change I made was to strain it through the sieve after I heated it to 170°. Another winner from Deb. You rock

  142. Jen

    I’m in the middle of making this, and figured I’d pop in to answer a burning question I and others have had.

    I just pureed and strained a couple of fresh mangos, and doing some math and averaging across 2 mangos, I feel comfortable saying the pureed yeild of a 15 oz mango is around 1 cup strained, for everyone who, like me, was wondering how much tinned mango puree to use in the recipe.

  143. Jen

    I commented yesterday to report that I extrapolated/interpolated that a 15 oz. mango is about 1 cup strained puree. The finished curd was 1.5 cups. (I used two Ataulfo mangos that together weighed more than 15 oz, and set aside the excess puree.)

    I found the finished colour slightly off putting. It looked appetizing enough in sunlight, but in my kitchen it looked a touch grey, a little like dijon mustard. I tried adjusting the colour with a bit of raspberry, but it still made me think of mustard, just some other type of mustard.

    I also found it got distinctly thicker at about 130F, but then I couldn’t seem to get it any hotter even after stirring over the simmering water for quit some time longer. I took it off the heat at that point. It’s probably a nice consistency for scones, but in a cake, it runs a little when the cake is sliced, but wasn’t too slippy for a 6″ 3 layer cake (in whick I used half of the 1.5 cups of curd.)

    Since I strained the puree through a fairly fine sieve before cooking, and it seemed smooth and lump free after, I didn’t strain again.

    1. deb

      Did it get this grayish color after hitting the cake or just in the bowl? I wonder if it had a reaction with a reactive metal (which can sometimes turn things blueish).

      1. Jen

        it took on the colour during the heating cooking of the curd. I used stainless steel… there’s no chance of reaction from that, is there?

        1. deb

          And the utensil couldn’t have been reactive either? I’ve not read anything about curd being problematic in stainless steel, but it definitely sounds like that’s what happened for you.

          1. Jen

            Well! The wedding is on Saturday, and I’ve just made the batch of curd to be used in the cake and it is a perfectly lovely colour! I’m not sure why the test bactch was weird. Could have just been a fluke. I used canned purée instead of fresh this time, and a new thermometer. The thermometer is the only utensil difference. It’s possible the old one was faulty, because I easily got to 170F this time, and didn’t notice the distinct thickening. It’s possible I was actually over temp in the test batch and the weird colour was from over heating the fruit? I could have stuck the old thermometer in and compared the reading, but um, I forgot about it and it was still gummed with curd on the counter, camouflaged behind the spice rack from last time *hides*

            Really love my new thermometer, by the way! It’s called the Javelin, but Lavatools, and it’s a cheaper alternative to the famed Thermapen. The design details seem thoughtful and the construction looks good quality. It’s $25 vs the $99 Thermapen, and claims a 3-4 second read compared to the Thermapen’s 2-3 second read. Certainly seems fast enough for me, and a good cost trade off, certainly an excellent upgrade from analog tools, and the not that much cheaper grocery-store-branded digital thermometer I stopped bothering with, because lost battery charge in no time. I got this new one from Amazon.

          2. Jen

            seems I’ve confirmed my theory that the colour was from over cooked fruit/faulty thermometer (a dial thermometer, generally used for meat, because the glass of my candy thermometer go smashed rolling around the drawer.) I just reheated to add more gelatin, and this time with the old dial thermometer washed and ready.

            In the boiling water, it kept climbing slowly (but I gave up before seeing if it would keep climbing to 100 C), but when I stuck it in the curd, it wouldn’t even get to 130 F, when the new thermometer (which gave an appropriate reading for boiling water,) said it was well over 130 F.

            That’s it. Everyone is getting a Javelin for Christmas.

  144. Stephanie

    Hi Deb,

    You mention that you made 6″-square samples of both the vanilla and chocolate cakes. Could you share the recipes for those? I’m making my first wedding cake for a friend’s wedding in October and she is coming over for a tasting this weekend.

    Thank you!

  145. Meg

    I made this curd using 1 cup of puréed peaches (much thanks to the above commenter, Jen) and a scant 1/2 cup of sugar. It turned out perfect!

  146. Bridgit

    I used 10 oz frozen then mostly thawed mango and the lower amount of sugar, then followed the rest of the recipe. It worked out great.